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Waste Management

Students compost food scraps at the Organic Farm, photo credit: Adam Long

Student employees use an electric cart to transport compost to the farm everyday, photo credit: Adam Long

Reusable cup

Leftover food is donated to local shelters through the Food Recovery Network

Preserve products made from recycled plastic

Effective waste stream management is an important part of a sustainable operation. Dining Services works to minimize the amount of waste we send to the landfill. We start by reducing the amount of waste generated and then we make sure to handle the waste we do produce responsibly.

  • Composting All preproduction vegan food scraps, as well as some post-production food scraps, are composted at the Organic Farm. Thanks to the hard work of Jennifer Schmidt ’14, students can compost their food scraps and napkins at the dish return in each dining hall.  Each week over 1.5 tons of food waste is diverted from the landfill and used at the on-campus Organic Farm.
  • Recycling All paper, cardboard, plastic, metal and glass are recycled through the City of Claremont recycling program.  As a result of this program, one trash dumpster at both Frank and Frary was replaced with a recycling bin. 
  • Reusable Takeout Cup and Container Program Upon arriving at Pomona, each student is issued a green clamshell container and a reusable cup that can be used to eat meals outside of the dining halls and to take beverages to go.  These cups and containers cut down on the waste associated with using disposable containers.
  • Reduced Disposable Usage Dining Services is committed to reducing disposable usage as much as possible.  We do not offer disposable items for use within the dining halls and all of the diningware is reusable.
  • Compostable Disposables We use certified compostable disposables in all of our operations, including Catering.  This reduces the environmental impact and allows for these items to be composted.  Those items that are not composted still have a lessened impact in the landfill than conventional plastic or paper disposables.
  • Food Recovery Network Leftover food is donated to a local shelter every day. Students pick up leftovers at the end of the meal and deliver it to the shelter. This reduces Pomona’s food waste while redirecting the food to those who need it. Pomona College is one of the founding members of the national Food Recovery Network!
  • Trayless Dining Since August 2009, the dining halls have been trayless.  Eliminating trays not only reduces food waste (because students are inclined to take less food) but also reduces water use because the dish machines do not have to operate as long.  It is estimated that eliminating trays reduces food waste by at least 10%.
  • Preserve Products As needed, diningware is replaced with this sustainable option. These cups, bowls and plates are made from leftovers: recycled #5 plastics that is, such as yogurt cups, Brita filters, toothbrushes and more!  They are made from 100% recycled plastic and can be reused thousands of times.  At the end of the product’s lifecycle, exhausted items can be recycled into new ones.  Now that’s closing the loop!
  • Bulk Purchasing There is a lot of waste from the packaging food comes in.  We buy in bulk as much as possible to reduce packaging and unnecessary waste. For example, we buy catsup in a plastic pouch, instead of the typical metal can, to cut down on waste. Many of the staples we use are purchased in 25 or 50 pound sacks instead of smaller sizes.